Time To Start Speaking American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem continue to flaunt their successful fusion of classic rock and punk music.

The Gaslight Anthem

American Slang

Released on Jun 15, 2010


It’s fairly contradictory to define a band’s sound as “working-class,” especially when they’re not taking time off from the studio to punch in at their blue collar jobs, but it’s difficult to connote much else from The Gaslight Anthem’s punkish tones and honest lyrics. American Slang shows them experimenting a little bit with new styles, but the Springsteen comparisons the band has experienced in the past are sure to continue. Something tells me that these boys won’t mind the parallel—considering they’ve opened for The Boss on tour and he’s collaborated with them at several live shows.

The opening title track is a solid one, but “solid” doesn’t make it a standout track. That’s not to say it’s bad, but both lyrically and musically, there are stronger tracks on the album. Like the ensuing track “Stay Lucky.” It’s got more energy behind it, and the lyrics tell a captivating story. Take this snippet for example: “Mama never told me there’d be days like these ‘til it was much too late to recover.” His straightforward delivery and the remainder of the track don’t offer many interpretations besides the one of “sometimes unexpected shitty things happen, and you have to deal with them. So deal.”

“The Diamond Street Choir” shows hints of experimentation, but in no way is this anything other than a Gaslight Anthem track. But the intro is a little swingier, and the sing-along chorus is more lighthearted than their usual fare. However, there’s nothing light about Fallon’s vocals, especially near the end. This punk kid can shred a song to pieces when he really wants to, and he really serves as the driving force behind this track.

Though as far as “experimental”  intros go, “Boxer” takes the cake. For what it’s worth, it’s my favorite song on the track, if only for the playground chant-esque start. As I’ve mentioned they’re stellar storytellers, and “Boxer” is one of the more well-developed tales on the album. With lyrics like “and your tattooed knuckles/oh how they grind down/try to be a man/tough just like your father,” you can’t help but want to know just how worn down those knuckles are going to get. Also, the guitars and percussion are in top form here. To be fair though, trying to pick a track where the guitars and percussion aren’t in top form is a joke.

As is evidenced by my perfect rating of American Slang, I could highlight each track for its musicality and lyrics, but then we’d have a 1,000 word love letter on our hands. Just know this: if you like well-produced (but still rough) punk/rock music, I feel confident in saying that you’ll find something to like about this album. It’s an ideal summertime album as well, so just hurry up and listen to it, alright?

High Point

The fun intro of “Boxer” and the fable the track tells.

Low Point

Lately, I have a hard time giving albums perfect ratings, but this one comes damn close to getting one. I still take issue with the title track, though—it just sort of blends into the background, and if a track is going to be both the title and the opener, it should be outstanding.

Posted by Alyssa Vincent on Jun 14, 2010 @ 6:06 am

gaslight anthem, american slang, review